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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  May 18, 2011 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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pedestrians don't like them, but officials insist this simple idea is building up the quality of life here, and that's building up the business climate all around. tom foreman, cnn. >> that does it for this edition of "360." see you tomorrow. power, politics, and scandal. arnold schwarzenegger's bombshell confession. the love child he fathered ten years ago while married to maria shriver. and imf chief dominique strauss-khan, behind bars, charged with sexual assault. >> -- restrained a hotel employee inside of his room. he sexually assaulted her and attempted to forcibly rape her. >> tonight, damage control and political fallout. then my interview with one of the sharpest political minds out there, the man who knows president obama better than just about anybody else, david axelrod. >> we are a tight group. we are all committed to the same
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thing. >> perhaps his closest white house adviser. >> what we need to do is focus on what's good for the country, what's good for the american people, and move forward. >> now david axelrod has another cause with his wife susan, fighting to find the cure of epilepsy. i'll talk to david and susan axelrod. this is "piers morgan tonight." good evening. a man who heads the international monetary fund, the man who was a likely candidate for president of france, is tonight on suicide watch at rikers island after being charged with sexually assaulting a maid at his new york city hotel. meanwhile, in a shocking political story, elsewhere arnold schwarzenegger admits he fathered a child with a woman on his household staff. his wife, maria shriver, says -- earlier i spoke to one of the best political minds in the country, david axelrod.
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listen to what he said about the former california governor. i mean, in the case of arnold schwarzenegger, do you think if the electorate had known that he had a love child by his housekeeper he would have ever become governor of california? >> well, i don't know the answer to that. i suspect the fact that it didn't become public until after suggests that he didn't necessarily believe that. >> joining me now is donny deutsch, mike citric, don goldberg, president clinton's damage control specialist, and hilary rosen, democratic strategist and cnn contributor. hilary, i know you know both arnold and maria personally. i have to say i was pretty shocked by this. i saw them at a restaurant in los angeles only three or four weeks ago. they were just going in to a restaurant i was coming out of. i stopped, i talked to them both. they were clearly dining together. they seemed very happy certainly on the face of it.
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had no warning at auto about what was coming. were you aware of what transpired from january? >> no. and i think that, you know, it was a very small circle of informed. but, you know, this is kind of typical of maria in that she obviously was worried about her children. she wanted to make sure that whatever happened they knew first and that they were protected and it was handled the right way. and i just admire her so much for the strength that she's showing through this, and it's enormously distressing for her friends and supporters. >> it clearly is. let's turn to the politics here now. do you think that arnold schwarzenegger would have been able to become governor of california if this story had emerged before the election? >> well, i think david axelrod is right, that clearly arnold schwarzenegger didn't think so.
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otherwise he would have -- this would have come out. you know, he worked extremely hard in that campaign to deny charges. he even had the gal to put maria out there, denying things that were obviously now true. and so i think that, you know, politicians just don't seem to get away with the same kinds of things that hollywood actors get away with. and schwarzenegger was trying to convert his life into a politician's life, and i think he knew it was going to be a different standard. >> yeah. i mean, i think this obviously has come at the same time as the boss of the imf, he's involved in a much more serious scandal. it involves criminal allegations. but the kind of principle there is powerful men misbehaving in a sexually inappropriate manner. should we move on, perhaps, morally? forget the criminal aspect of it for a moment. as a traditional sex scandal,
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should we all just grow up a bit and accept that, you know, people will misbehave sexually and it shouldn't have any effect on their work as politicians or as leaders of banks or whatever it may be? >> well, i think from public figures and politicians we do expect more, particularly because they actually vote on issues of morality and intrusions into people's lives and how people's lives are conducted. that's literally their job, often. but i think, you know, in the case of maria shriver, the one decent thing that arnold schwarzenegger did today was say leave her alone. and i think, you know, she's going to go back and try and get some semblance of privacy around this to heal and take care of her kids. and we ought to do that. but in my mind, that doesn't mean that we should let arnold schwarzenegger off the hook or other politicians who sort of live by this double standard. >> you're a resident sex expert, self-appointed.
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>> am i a brand expert or a sex expert? >> so many layers. should we be so energized about sex scandals by politicians? putting aside the imf boss. that's a more serious matter. arnold schwarzenegger. it matters to his family, clearly. should it matter politically? >> whether it should or it does are two different things. as far as should, i'm going to equate a politician to a ceo. if i have a ceo and i own stock in a company, basically if you are voted for politician, you own shares in that country. would you rather have a ceo who's tripling the stock price and maybe screws around on his wife or a ceo who's very faithful and is running the company or the country in the ground? i want to compare clinton and bush and w. i'm not condoning it morally, but as far as what i want from my politicians is performance in their job. i am not looking for them to be moral role models. i want them to perform. now, without the right moral compass, can they get elected?
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that's the other question. when are we going to stop be shocked when men of power, men of stature and fame, stop chasing women? it goes with the character. it's almost more exceptional if they don't. >> it may go with the character but -- >> when is this going to end? when it's billion-dollar golf players or movie star governors or, guess what, they also feel entitled to women? why is that a surprise to anybody? i'm not condoning it, but it kind of makes sense. >> you are kind of condoning it. >> i'm not condoning it at all. stop acting surprised. >> you're saying men will be men. >> no. i'm saying that men of power and men who are conquerors in other areas of their life, why are we shocked when that stops with other women? i'm not saying it's right. obviously what schwarzenegger did was horrific on any level. obviously the guy in the imf, that's violence against women, a completely different territory. stop being surprised. >> you're the crisis king of hollywood. when you look at what's happened with these two powerful men,
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what's your take on it? >> first of all, i don't think that we can look at new york or los angeles or chicago necessarily as america. america is the heartland. america is modesto or sacramento or albany. and so our view of -- and, you know, i work primarily in the world with business, so i understand what donny is saying in terms of return on investment. on the other hand, you know, you have to say who's electing these politicians and who's voting for these politicians and what does middle america think of -- think the moral compass should be and what do they think is acceptable? you have president mitterand fathered a child out of wedlock. the french say who cares, right? but -- >> badge of honor. >> correct. >> but the french electorate are not the same at the american electorate. and so -- >> i mean, i kind of feel that
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the yardstick here really ought to be left with the electorate. you know, i think that you should put all your cards on the table. it's the dishonesty. it's the hiding of information that in the end is people's undoing, isn't it? don't you think? >> of course. it's always the cover-up that is worse than crime. well, not always. but in many instances. and so what you really have here, the question is when schwarzenegger was running, did maria know? did he hope to keep it from maria? and so there is more or there very well could have been more than the electorate -- >> let me ask you about schwarzenegger's acting career. he's now left politics. he's timed this for stopping being governor. he's aiming to relaunch his acting career. can he do that, or can we see rumors about other women and so on? could we potentially see a movie version of tiger woods unfold? >> here's the sad part. it will actually help his movie career. here's a guy, there's a sizzle to it, this is the world we live in. everyone said what's going to
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happen to lindsay lohan's career. hotter than ever. his audience is not female moviegoers anyway so, certain women will turn away. but in hollywood it kind of puts a little ray of blink on him. it's a perverse take on things, but that's reality. >> we're seeing a slew of sex scandals in recent year, even more than we're probably used to in all forms of entertainment and sport and politics. are we seeing an increase in bad behavior? are we seeing sort of a collective aphrodisiac here linked to power and success? what's going on? >> well, you know, if we're looking for moral leadership from our sports figures, our entertainer, now from our politicians and businessmen, i think we're all looking in the wrong place. to the point of let the elect rat decide, we have a slate of candidates all of whom have some questionable relationship issues there. we're going to find out what the tolerance is.
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this is not a partisan issue. you can go back to gary hart. you can go back to more recently john edwards. obviously, you know, president kennedy, you can go way back. i don't think it's new. and i think because they're politicians you can't keep secrets anymore in this day and age. but i think the tolerance level for this, as long as they're not breaking the law, is getting a little bit easier. i mean, i think the question with schwarzenegger will be over the next few days were there any state funds used to pay to take care of her, was she an immigrant who had a green card, for example. he may have some legal issues to deal with. >> piers -- >> hilary, let me bring you in here. what was your response to that? >> i think actually we see more of a divergence right now, that you can get away with it in sports and in entertainment and other places. we've seen it with tiger woods and jesse james and probably now with arnold schwarzenegger. i actually think in politics we've gone the opposite direction where it's too big a
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distraction. the media is too intense. we've seen, you know, with -- i think that it would be a very different environment today with president clinton than it was when it happened that the onslaught of media and accessibility and endless questions are becoming too distracting for a politician. >> let me stop you there. >> and we have lots of examples. >> let me stop you there, because clinton is a great example. he's answer to the argument. the more salacious material came out about clinton, the more his personal approval ratings began to soar as the american public -- >> no, that's not what made his approval ratings soar. what made his approval ratings soar was the ridiculous republican overreach on trying to get rid of him based on what had happened, when his family was sticking by him. that's when the country actually started to come to his defense and realize other things were more important. >> piers, to your point, i think there's a subtext of maybe it adds to his power really, but he
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is the classic example of a guy who was a spectacularly successful president and as a post president has been nothing but a humanitarian, a leader around the world, what you want from a leader. now, was this guy a leader? of course he was. but we have to get our heads straight about what we want and expect from our leaders. to me, this has been one of the great leaders of the world. his moral compass when it comes to women? i'm not setting him up for -- >> would you take on arnold schwarzenegger right now? would you take on dominique strauss-khan? >> let's separate the two. i mean, arnold isn't accused of a crime. you know, what he has admitted is is fathering a child out of wedlock while he was married. right. so it's very different. look, hollywood has a very short memory. and you have to put the infraction into context as to what it's all about. >> should he come clean quicker
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than tiger woods did? should he -- >> you can't compare them. they're not comparable. >> i'm not comparing them yet. i'm saying arnold schwarzenegger has been caught in a sex scandal. he's a high-profile guy. there are rumors of other stories. they may or may not be true. should he come on a show like this, lay everything on the table and say, you know what, this is the truth. >> eventually. >> get everything out of the way. >> but the difference is tiger woods had this all-american boy image, right? and he had this super-clean image. and so he was the poster boy for that. arnold schwarzenegger has this tough guy, macho image, and all of these rumors of -- >> not as damaging. >> right. and so, yes, should arnold -- he's already started it. you've already seen this. but i think he wants to give it some time, give it some air. then i think he needs to come through. now, what we really have to see is houma rea is -- are they going to reconcile, what's maria going to say, and then give it a little time and then come on a show. >> thank you all very much, indeed. a good debate. coming up, more from david axelrod.
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when we come back, in the media spotlight. i'll ask dan abrams if there is a rush to judgment in notorious cases. let me tell you about a very important phone call i made.
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stories like arnold schwarzenegger's or dominique strauss-khan's, what happens when scandal and celebrity collide. joining me is abc news analyst dan abrams. dan, two very different stories. >> yeah. >> and important to keep them very different, because there's no suggestion of any criminality by arnold schwarzenegger but there certainly is against dominique strauss-khan from france. a question i suppose coming from france driven back here, is the guy getting a fair trial in terms of the way the media is behaving, in terms of the way the judiciary is behaving in putting him out there to be photographed and stuff. is this fair or is it prejudicial? >> i think the only legitimate question for people to really complain about is the perp walk. in france, they've recently outlawed it in part because of the exact questions you're asking. >> what do you think? >> look, i think that it's
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probably not necessary. it's been done here for many, many years. i don't think that it -- you know, the goal is to show that the person has been arrested and to demonstrate to the public in essence that the republic is safe. but with that said, you know, i don't know that we necessarily need perp walks anymore. >> i mean, i have to say i've been in newspapers for 25 years before i came into television, and there's no doubt it's a juicy bone to toss a newspaper, to put it on the front pages. i woke up this morning, saw pictures of this guy looking like bernie madoff, the french version, and that in itself wasn't helpful to him. >> yeah. >> it made him look instantly criminal. there he is slumped, looking sort of vaguely guilty. i mean, a damaging image. >> i'm not as worried about it from a sort of legal perspective. i mean, from a moral perspective i think you've got a legitimate argument. from a legal perspective, people always say what happens the presumption of innocence, et cetera? the reality is jury selection is
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really pretty good in this country, meaning they're able to find people who either don't know that much about a case or people who do know but haven't formed opinions. think about it. in the o.j. simpson civil case, after the criminal case in l.a., with all the attention that case had received, they were able to find a fair jury of people who knew something about the case. they knew facts of the case. they knew what had happened. but they hadn't developed opinions. >> tell me about this separate issue, which i noticed. when maria shriver made this very painful statement about the horrific ordeal she and her family are going through, clearly arnold schwarzenegger and i have always got along well, i think he's a good man, and this is awful for all of them, but she said she wanted privacy for her children. shortly after that, some of her children went on twitter and began to talk quite frankly about what happened, almost breaking their own plea from privacy. can we expect any privacy anymore given the existence of
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twitter, social networks, facebook and so on? >> we can hope for it. we can't expect it. the reality is i think maria shriver has every right to ask for it, to demand it, to hope for it, a and yet she knows as well as everyone -- i know and respect and like maria a lot, and i guarantee you she know, she knows the way the world works. she knows that she's not going to get the privacy that she deserves to some degree. and, look, kids are kids. you know, the fact that she can't control exactly what her kids do or don't do on twitter is very typical of a parent/child relationship. >> how do you see the legal position in relation to this imf chief going? >> i think that the first question is going to be is he going to get bail. right. he's been denied bail. initially the defense team is hoping that they will still be able to create a bail package that will get him back, meaning he won't be able to go back to france because as a legal matter -- >> get out and stay in new york.
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>> right. if he was able to get out and go to france, france might send him back. that's not going to happen. the question is he going to get released at all, that's still up in the air. probably not, but there's hope. and a question, big picture in the context of this case, what's the defense going to be? sources close to the defense telling me it's likely to be a consent defense, meaning he's not going to say he wasn't there, not that they've got the timing all wrong -- >> i've got to wrap it up, but if he's going with a consent defense, he's got to lose the imf. >> i think so. when we come back, david axelrod on the schwarzenegger scandal and more.
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joining me now is former senior white house official david axelrod and his wife, susan, who's a founding member of citizens united for a search in epilepsy. thank you both for joining me. before we get to the reason that we're doing this interview, i want to talk to you, david, about the extraordinary run, first, of news stories that we've had this year, quite unprecedented i would think in recent times. more specifically, we just had a lively debate on the show about i guess this ongoing, the old-fashioned issue, sex and politics. you're seeing two big sex scandals, very different in their ways. one is a criminal issue. one isn't. what's your take on it? when you hear these scandals -- you worked with john edwards before his scandal, eliot spitzer before his did. what do you make of this whole issue? >> well, i think that, first of all, these are always stunning developments when you hear them. we hold people up on a pedestal
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who run for public office to some degree. >> should we? >> well, i think they're all human beings, and some, you know, are flawed, and so i think that we should -- we should put our faith in them to the degree that we know what their public positions have been, what they've done there, but i think it's hard to get to know people. and sometimes stunning things happen. and when they do, i think it contributes to some of the cynicism. >> i mean, in the case of arnold schwarzenegger, do you think if the electorate had known that he had a love child by his housekeeper he would ever have become governor of california? >> well, i don't know the answer to that, but i suspect the fact that it didn't become public until after suggests that he didn't necessarily believe that. >> you've been out of the white house for a while now. when you see this almost apocalyptic series of events in the world with the middle east uprisings, with what happened in
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japan, with the killing of osama bin laden and so on, have you missed being back in the center of things at the white house, or are you still quietly there on the end of the phone? >> well, you know, look, there's no place like the white house when things are happening. i mean, it's an intensely interesting place to be. and you do miss being in the information flow when these things happen. i would have liked to have been there the night of the bin laden mission. but i'm also -- i think as someone who has been around politics all his life, i find it easier to be out in the real world, talking to people, getting a sense of how they're seeing these events, and that i find rewarding, plus being home with my wife, who -- >> is it good or the bad to be seeing more of him? >> it's excellent. >> very good. we practiced that.
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>> in terms of the politics of what's been happening, how significant do you think, particularly the bin laden incident may have been for the obama election campaign we'll be coming up to? >> you know, piers, i've been asked that question a lot, and i think it's very -- one thing you're acutely aware of when you're in the white house is there are going to be a million developments between now and november of 2012. and some of them completely unforeseen. the thing you come to expect is the unexpected. and, you know, every day in washington is treated like it's election day, every event a seminal event. and few rarely are. look, i think it's important for the country what happened. i think it will be remembered. but there are other things that people are grappling with in their own lives. >> i've seen you suggest that in the end probably the key issue, as it often is, will be the economy. >> absolutely. >> fascinating though it is what's going on with egypt and libya and so on and so on. the average american, when they come to vote, the big question for them will be has barack
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obama done enough to repair the horrific damage from the financial crisis? do i have an expectation he'll continue that process? >> i'd add one more dimension to that because elections are not referendums. they're choices. so the question will be is his vision a vision that holds out the most hope for people now and in the future as compared to the vision that his opponent offers? i think the president's done a great job of turning around what was a catastrophic situation, but that's not the project that he was running to assume. he ran for a larger reason, which is to reinvigorate the american dream in the 21st century, and for many, many years before the crisis people had been struggling, kind of running in place, their paychecks have been flat, their expenses have been going up, harder to educate their kids, harder to retire. and those are the projects that he's been working on, and it's
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going to take some time to achieve them. the question is whether people say, you know what, i want to keep going down that path, that's the right vision. i think they will, but, you know, that's what campaigns are about. >> we'll cob back to the president a little later. but i want to turn now to the reason we're doing this interview. it's this heartbreaking story, no other way to describe it, involving your daughter lauren, who was born perfectly healthy, she was your first-born child nearly 30 years ago. at the age of 7 months she suddenly out of nowhere has this terrible seizure, and it's diagnosed as epilepsy. susan, tell me about that moment, because it completely changed your lives. >> oh, it did. i mean, i look back at that and you just more than anything you could recapture it and somehow change the course of her life mostly but our entire family's lives. >> watching lauren go through that seizure. >> going through not just that seizure, but she had multiple, multiple -- dozens of seizures every single day. so i put her to bed one night,
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as you mentioned, she was totally fine, healthy baby. next morning i went in and looked into her crib and she was blue and she was limp, and she went into a seizure, which i had no idea what it was. >> terrifying as a new parent. >> totally terrifying. her arm went up, her eyes rolled back, she was frothing at the mouth, and i didn't know what it was and rushed her to the emergency room. david met me there. she was hospitalized, that first hospitalization for a full month. by the time we brought her home, she was on several heavy-duty medications that just womped her out and still having six seizures every day. and we saw a lot of the developmental milestones she achieved in the first seven months just deteriorate. >> you gave up your job. there's a very poignant story of you walking to the hospital doors to leave after seeing her and you suddenly stopped and went, what am i doing? i need to be with my daughter, and that was it. you then dedicated yourself to -- >> yeah. it really was just a moment where i thought this is my
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obligation in life. this has become my life's work now to make sure that she's okay, to keep her safe. it wasn't for a number of years that i started cure along with the energy of a couple other moms, but -- >> and this is a nonprofit-making charitable organization designed specifically to increase funding for research toward epilepsy. david, unless i'm wrong, the great disparity about something like epilepsy is when you have parkinson's, for example, the math kind of works out, about $40 is put forward per patient in terms of research and funding and so on. the equivalent for epilepsy based on the number of americans that have it, is nearly $4. that's a dramatic difference. >> it is, and -- >> why is that, do you think? >> i think a number of reasons, but the primary reason is that epilepsy's always made people uncomfortable. you know, it goes back to biblical times.
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but even in modern times, there are many who believe that these convulsions they see are some sort of demonic possession. i mean, it really has been something that's made people uncomfortable to talk about, uncomfortable to see, and there's been this impression that somehow there have been pills that can take care of it and it's really been solved. it has not. half the people who have epilepsy are controlled with the existing medications, although those are punishing and treatments. but the other half struggles, as lauren did, 50,000 people a year in this country dying from this. i want to go back to susan's story for a second, piers, because it kind of explains how we got to this moment and how susan got to her moment. when we went into the hospital with lauren, she had a couple of seizures. we saw them. it was terrifying. and the doctors said don't worry, it's probably a fever seizure. she'll be fine. a month later we left, and as susan said, she was still having
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multiple seizures a day, medicating. we said what was this? he said an idiopathic seizure disorder. i said what does that mean? he said it means she's got seizures and we don't know why. and that is ultimately the core of this. people are dying. people's lives are being destroyed. and we don't know why it happens. >> let's take a short break. when we come back, i want to get into how we can change that, how we can properly try and make a difference. >> great.
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back now with david and susan axelrod. bring a bit of personal commitment to your cause. i have a cousin, a very dear cousin of mine, who died of epilepsy in his late teens, an injury he sustained whilst having a seizure. i saw the devastating it effect it had on his immediate family and the wider family and also the sense of real frustration that this young life had been snuffed out and we couldn't do anything about it. there wasn't a way to treat this, to cure this. clearly by calling this charity of yours cure, that's the essence of what the problem is with epilepsy. we can't cure it as things stand. >> mm-hmm. >> what are the most effective ways we can try and change this? >> well, i think one thing we
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can do is just really -- and one of the things we've been successful at doing is changing the focus of research, which was always about sort of slapping more medications on seizures and hoping that you could just make them sort of subside, and that really, in our point of view, is not the answer. we need to understand why it's happening. it's a really complicated disorder. many, many different syndromes within epilepsy. >> miraculously, it seems to me, after trying endless different things, you suddenly found an anti-convulsion pill, i think it was, that worked. and now lauren's been how long without -- >> 11 years without a seizure. but we still have no idea why that drug is working. we had no idea that it was going to work at the time. it was the 23rd or 24th drug we had tried for her. >> do you know how many other people it works on? >> it's -- >> it's not a miracle for that many people. it was for her, and we need to understand that. we need to -- i think we're just getting to the point, and that's
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why an infusion of research dollars can really help advance this, because with improvements in genetic understanding, i think we'll be able to look at people like lauren and studies are just beginning that will look at her and say, okay, maybe 18 years ago we could have given her that drug and it would have stopped them. >> because one of the things that's devastating about epilepsy is she was having so many attack, so many seizure, 28, 30 a day, each one damaging her brain. >> right. >> and that in the end has a devastating impact on the quality of her life. >> yes. >> even now that she's not had the seizures for a decade, there's still the damage has been done, right? >> not just the damage from the seizure, but the truth is she still takes a handful of pills every day, not just that anticonvulsant but other anticonvulsants and other medications that if you or i took we'd find very debilitating. so, yes, you know, she's -- she has lost so much to this, and there's still in the back of our minds, you know, that fear that
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how long will this regimen hold? because, you know, i said to you before we started, epilepsy is terrorism of the brain. you never know when it's going to come. you never know whether it will take a life or how it will damage you or where it will happen. and you live with that all your life. >> do you feel, susan, that you've lost a life with lauren, that although she's alive and doing better than she was, that she's never going to lead the life that you would have hoped for when she was first born? >> yeah. i think you have to sort of put that aside at a certain point. and what we do on a daily basis now is look at her and marvel at how well she's doing. and one of this reasons i think i'm energized to keep up with this work is i want that for other patients. particularly when epilepsy starts in childhood it can really affect development, especially so when the child is under 2 years old. so, you know, yes, if i were to
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sit and think about, you know, a wedding day or her having children, and she brings that up every now and then, i just have to put it somewhere where, you know, i don't deal with it very well because it will get me pretty emotional. on the other hand, she has an amazing life now, one that we never, ever envisioned her having before we got the seizure controlled. her cognition has improved just astronomically. she lives in a great place so she has friends and she has a really full life. and we never thought that was possible. >> yeah. i mean, just if you flash back to the period of time right before we found a regimen that worked for her, we really thought we were going to lose her. she was hurtling toward disaster. the seizures were coming faster and faster. she was more and more debilitated. and we thought we were going to lose her. and her whole childhood was just filled with misery and loneliness and pain. and so, the fact that every day is a good day for her now, she's
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cheerful, she's happy, she's got friends, you know, it isn't what he had envisioned, but it's so much more than we could have hoped for. and, you know, our goal is to -- is to take this and move forward and help other people and make that her legacy. but she's a valiant, wonderful, inspiring young woman. >> take another short break. when we come back, i want to talk to you specifically about the cost for the families that have to go through what you went through. and are the governments doing enough about this now.
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back here with my special guests, david and susan axelrod. susan, how prevalent is epilepsy in america at the moment? >> you know, epilepsy affects 1% to 2% of the population worldwide, so in a world that's 50 million, in this country it's about 3 million. >> a lot of people. >> a lot of people. it's one of the most common neurological diseases. >> and is that what we know? a lot of people, because of the stigma that goes with epilepsy, may not say anything. >> exactly. and there are some types difficult to diagnose. absonces, until they do an eeg, they may not know these are actually seizures, sometimes hundreds a day, disrupting a child's learning. >> david, when this hit you as a family, it's obviously very expensive to treat epilepsy.
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what kind of impacts did it have financially? >> there are all impacts on a family. financially, i was a young reporter when lauren got sick, and we had an hmo. what we discovered was that was great policy as long as you didn't get sick, and they didn't cover much of what she needed, especially like her medications, which were like $8,000 a year, $10,000 a year. that was a quarter of my whole salary at the time. and it put tremendous pressure on us. the other element that is lost in all of this is the impact it has on the other children and the family. all of her childhood, lauren's health took precedence over everything. so if we were going on a vacation and she would have seizure, that would get canceled or we would be on vacation and she would get sick and, you know, the boys who were younger would watch all of this in horror.
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>> scary for them. >> what happens is these kids feel recentful that they are losing something themselves but guilty because they know their sibling is suffering. it creates tremendous pressures on siblings, as well. so epilepsy has a tremendous impact on the rest of the family. >> susan, how can people help? what is the most effective way they can do this? >> well, they can certainly join some of the events that we're having around the country that are cropping up in places that other -- >> you have a website? >> you can donate online, get involved in regional activities that are happening. it's really going to take the community coming together and
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supporting these research efforts. and i always say, you know, we represent the third to half of patients who have really poorly controlled seizure and are devastated or lose their lives. but i think this research, we need to make the point that the research we're funding is going to help all people with epilepsy. even if you feel like you're living okay, you know, they're finding now that there are family tendencies towards epilepsy. genetics is leading us toward that direction. >> you're on the other side of the fence on this one. has the government being doing enough in terms of providing funding for epilepsy research? >> no, i believe that medical research generally needs more. the president has given more money to it, but we're obviously in difficult times and all activities of government have been frozen and the truth is even when times were better, there was a tendency on the part of the government to fund research that was tried and true and tested and this requires
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thinking outside of the box. we need new approaches to research and the government has been reluctant to fund those. so let's provide the seed money, they've funded grants around the world. that holds promise that could be taken to the government. >> when we come back, we're going to get your verdict, good or bad, on your friend, president obama. [ doctor ] here's some health information for people over 50. maybe you don't think you're at risk for heart attack or stroke but if you've been diagnosed with p.a.d., or have pain or heaviness in your legs, i want to talk to you. you may have heard of poor leg circulation, which could be peripheral artery disease, or p.a.d. with p.a.d., if you have poor circulation in your legs, you may also have poor circulation in your heart
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i'm back with david and susan axelrod. we talked a little bit about politics. you're one of the few people in the world who can look the president in the eye and say, you're going wrong and he'll listen to you. he trusts you implicitly. you were right there when he got
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elected. with your teacher's hat on, let's just make you a teacher, if you were doing a report on obama so far as a president, good and bad, be honest, where would the ticks and cross bs? >> one of the reasons why we have a trusting relationship is i reserve those kind of comments for our private conversations. but i would say the same thing publicly and privately. there wasn't a single day, piers, that i was there that i wasn't not just proud of him but happy that he was there. because it is -- no one can fully imagine the pressures that come to that office. i often say, having been there for the last two years, i have a greater respect for anybody who has ever held that office. but these have been particularly challenging times. and i've watched him handle these one after another serial challenges with tremendous calm, with wisdom.
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one of his great feature is that when things get particularly bad, he's more focused, more calm, rallies everyone around him. >> how important is his family, not just on his side, but his wife's side. i've interviewed his sister and michelle's brother that's coming out soon. they were both very calm, generous, warm hearted sort of people. i remember thinking after meeting them both, he's a lucky guy. he's surrounded by er is runty. >> he understands what's most important in life. he goes home every night to have ziner with his kids. these last few years, as difficult as they have been, have been better for him than the years before that when he was traveling all the time, because he could live under the
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same roof with his family. he values that a lot. because of that, i don't think he fears making decisions. he knows that there's this backstop there. >> there's something else. if it all went wrong physically for him, he's still got what he has. >> and i think that's resulted in his ability to make decisions without fear of failure, understanding that failure is a possibility. a lot of people in public life don't have that. >> let's talk about this possibility. presumably you will be involved in the election campaign. >> yes. >> is the apparent chaos of the gop at the moment an encouraging sign for you? >> look, 16 months is an eternity in politics. you know, you might as well pull out the farmer's almanac to try and predict what's going to happen 16 months from now in politics. you know, my theory of politics is you prepare for the worst and hope for the best. my assumption is there will be a competitive candidate and we'll have a battle over the future of
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this country and which way we want to go. >> are you a betting man? >> occasional. >> if you were about to put a little bet on, who would you think may end up with the way things stand with the republican nomination? >> i don't know. you talk about betting money. mitt romney is raising a lot of it, and that's valuable in politics. he's been around the track. you know, they've got a number of candidates and i'm not sure we've seen them all. i think this is the most unfathomable republican race of my lifetime. general republicans have a front-runner and that front-runner ends up being dominated. it was true with mccain, bush, dole. >> as things stand, looking pretty good for the president, isn't it? >> i think we take it day by day. i think his character of leadership has come through. but we got to keep working,